Britain Accelerates Brexit Plans; Talks Also to Speed Up

Britain is accelerating preparations for “all eventualities” when it leaves the European Union, but both sides are hopeful an agreement on stepping up talks to unravel more than 40 years of partnership will be sealed soon.

With only 17 months remaining until Britain’s expected departure, the slow pace of talks has increased the possibility that London will leave without a deal, alarming business leaders who say time is running out for them to make investment decisions.

British and EU negotiators met in Brussels on Tuesday to try to agree a schedule for further divorce talks, with an initial proposal from the bloc to hold three more rounds before the end of the year not winning instant approval from London.

The pressure has spurred the British government to step up its Brexit plans, employing thousands more workers and spending millions to make sure customs posts, laws and systems work on day one of Brexit, even without a deal on a future relationship.

At a meeting with her ministers Tuesday, Prime Minister Theresa May was updated on plans for the tax and customs authority to add 3,000 to 5,000 workers next year and for spending of 500 million pounds ($660.45 million) for Brexit.

Domestic preparations

“Alongside the negotiations in Brussels, it is crucial that we are putting our own domestic preparations in place so that we are ready at the point that we leave the EU,” May’s spokesman told reporters.

“The preparatory work has seen a significant acceleration in recent months. Departments are preparing detailed delivery plans for each of the around 300 programs underway across government.”

May wants to silence critics in her ruling Conservative Party who are pressing her to walk away from talks, which have faltered over how much Britain should pay to leave the bloc.

Brexit campaigners are demanding that Britain leave with no deal if the talks do not move on beyond a discussion of the divorce settlement on a so-called Brexit bill, EU citizens rights and the border with EU member Ireland by December.

Brexit minister David Davis said Tuesday that he thought Britain would agree on some kind of basic deal with the European Union, even in the “very improbable” eventuality that they failed to agree on a trade deal.

Better tone

In a sign that an improved tone between the two sides, struck at a summit earlier this month, was continuing, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier reaffirmed his message in the Slovak capital, Bratislava, that he was ready to “speed up negotiations.”

May’s government has also long said it would welcome an acceleration in the talks. But the sides have yet to agree on how to do that following a top-level meeting in Brussels on October 19-20.

Barnier has proposed three rounds — one that did not take place last week, and two more in the weeks starting November 16 and December 4. London prefers continuous talks.

“We are ready to accelerate, but we must have something to talk about,” said an EU official.

This was what Britain’s Oliver Robbins and Barnier’s deputy, Sabine Weyand, were seeking to agree on in Brussels on Tuesday.

Before leaving the EU, May faces a struggle to get parliamentary support for a law to sever political, financial and legal ties with the bloc — the EU Withdrawal Bill, for which lawmakers have proposed hundreds of amendments.

Asked whether May was preparing to offer a concession over a final vote on any deal struck with the EU, her spokesman said there was “lots of speculation in relation to Brexit.”

“We’ve always said that we’ll do whatever is necessary,” he said.

Ousted Catalan Leader in Brussels as Spain Seek Charges

Spain’s High Court Tuesday called for ousted Catalonia President Carles Puigdemont to appear in court on Thursday morning.

Spanish prosecutors announced plans to seek sedition, rebellion and embezzlement charges against Puigdemont and his colleagues, who are currently in Brussels “for safety purposes and freedom”.

Puigdemont said Tuesday he would not be seeking asylum in Belgium. He and 13 members of his sacked administration were called to appear in court at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

Chief prosecutor Jose Manuel Maza said Monday he would seek to charge the leaders of Catalonia who led a push to secede from Spain. It is up to a court to decide whether to move forward with the charges, which could bring lengthy jail terms, including up to 30 years for rebellion.

A disputed Catalonian referendum on October 1 ended with a vote for the autonomous region to break away from Spain.

The government in Madrid rejected the secession push, and after Catalan lawmakers declared independence last week the central government asserted control over the region and dissolved the local parliament.

New elections are set for December, and Catalonia’s separatist party announced it would field candidates.

Dakota Fanning Says ‘Important’ to Speak Up About Assault

Actress Dakota Fanning has told reporters that although she hasn’t experienced the sort of sexual assault that has turned Hollywood on its head, it’s “important to talk about these issues, for women to stand up for themselves.”

 

Fanning, 23, spoke Tuesday at the Rome Film Festival, where she was presenting the film “Please Stand By.” She plays a young autistic woman obsessed with the Star Trek series, who runs away from her home in San Francisco to get to Los Angeles to submit her manuscript for a Star Trek script writing contest.

 

Fanning said she shares her character’s determination in achieving her goal, adding: “you have to fight for what you believe in and stay true to what you are.”

 

 

‘House of Cards’ Filming Suspended Amid Spacey Allegation

The suspension of filming on House of Cards Tuesday in response to allegations that star Kevin Spacey made sexual advances on a teen boy is a rare move in an industry that puts commerce first.

Shows are infrequently derailed by concerns other than their ratings performance, said TV historian and former network executive Tim Brooks.

“It usually depends on how popular the show is, not to put too fine a point on it,” Brooks said Tuesday.

In recent days, Hollywood has reacted swiftly to allegations of sexual harassment and assault: Harvey Weinstein was fired from the company he founded within days after initial reports of sexual harassment were published in the New York Times earlier this month. 

And hours after news broke about the allegations against Spacey, Netflix said it was pulling the plug on House of Cards, though the streaming network said the decision was made before the BuzzFeed News report on Spacey over the weekend. The network has not commented on plans for a Gore Vidal biopic starring Spacey that is currently in production.

The widespread tumult has prompted unusual actions — such as Weinstein being booted from industry organizations — and created a climate of uncertainty. But a look back shows that Hollywood has dealt with disruption before, with even beloved shows and actors fighting to keep their balance amid controversy.

Lucille Ball

During Hollywood’s 1950s “red scare,” Brooks said, I Love Lucy star Lucille Ball was accused of being a communist sympathizer. The sitcom co-starred her husband, Desi Arnaz, who took action.

“Desi came out before a studio taping and said, ‘The only thing red about Lucy is her hair, and that’s not real,”‘ using humor to effectively defuse the situation, Brooks said. The show’s No. 1 status also helped.

Stacey Keach

Popularity and audience acceptance of a star’s personal issues aided Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer when lead actor Stacey Keach served six months in jail for a drug-related arrest in England in the mid-1980s.

The 1984-85 season was cut short, but the series resumed in 1986 with Keach aboard and aired until 1987 on CBS.

Isaiah Washington

Grey’s Anatomy was swamped by controversy in late 2006 when an on-set scuffle broke out between stars Patrick Dempsey and Isaiah Washington over Washington’s use of a gay slur regarding another cast member.

After Washington repeated the slur at the 2007 Golden Globes while denying he had used it, ABC rebuked him publicly, as did co-star Katherine Heigl. He was subsequently fired, and the medical drama from TV hitmaker Shonda Rhimes sailed on even as Washington blamed racism for his treatment.

Spacey’s cast mates

An actor’s popularity with his cast mates can determine his fate, Brooks said.

“If they like him, if they get along with him, it’s easy enough to say, ‘If I don’t get my career ruined in this, I’ll stick with him,”‘ he said.

How Spacey’s cast mates are reacting to him and the allegations remains to be seen. Robin Wright, who stars opposite Spacey as his wife, hasn’t commented publicly, but her Twitter feed includes a number of posts backing social issues including female rights and education.

Netflix and House of Cards producer Media Rights Capital had already decided to end the series at the end of next season, its sixth, but on Tuesday they chose to pause the production, which is filmed in Baltimore, “to give us time to review the current situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew.” Spacey was not scheduled to work that day.

Allegations, response

The move comes after actor Anthony Rapp came forward with claims Spacey made inappropriate sexual advances toward him in 1986, when Rapp was 14.

Spacey responded by saying he doesn’t remember the alleged encounter but if he acted the way Rapp alleges, “I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” He also spoke publicly for the first time about being gay, which draw backlash from some observers as an attempt at deflection.

The fallout for Spacey also included the loss of an award he was going to get later this month by The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The group says “it will not honor Kevin Spacey with the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award,” which is to honor “an individual who crosses cultural boundaries to touch humanity.” Spacey was to get it at a gala on Nov. 20 in New York City. Past recipients include Rhimes, Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams.

A release date for the final House of Cards episodes has yet to be announced. Netflix is developing a possible spinoff of the award-winning drama that helped put the streaming service on the TV series map.

Malawi Kung Fu Movie Generates Online Buzz

The southern African country of Malawi may not be what comes to mind when you think of kung fu movies. But four young acrobats in its capital, Lilongwe, are out to change that. The trailer for their first locally produced action flick, The Town Monger, has been generating buzz online and drawn interest from regional cable distributors. The film will premiere in Malawi this week.

The buzz started soon after the director posted the film’s trailer online.

“It is not what we expected, and we have been overwhelmed by the response,” said Denis Imaan, manager of the Kufewa Acrobatics. “And we have taken some time now just to sit down, trying to strategize like ‘OK, where do we go from now?’”

Kufewa Acrobatics is a group of four school drop-outs from the Area 36 Township in Malawi’s capital.

The acrobats are self-taught. They learned by watching Jackie Chan movies and videos of Cirque de Soleil.

“At first, we were performing around our neighborhood. After the positive response, we started performing in townships, performing in the streets. In the process, people would give us money for each performance,” explained group member Abdul Rashid Shaibu.

Making their own movie seemed a natural progression. In 2015, they embarked on The Town Monger. The film tells the story of the challenges they have faced.

“We have sometimes been accused by many people, even by our own relatives, that what we are doing has no future. But I could not back down because I had a vision, and, moreover, these are the skills which God blessed me with,” said Alfred Hambali of Kufewa Acrobatics.

The 82-minute movie was filmed using a borrowed camera and a borrowed iPad. The set was the streets they know well.

The action movie got mixed reviews at its first local screening to journalists.

“What has impressed me most is the setting. As [what] was at the beginning, when the movie was being set, it was not just linear,” said Shadrick Kalukusha of World Wide Media.

“It never had a lot of dialogue,” noted Gertrude Abudu of Rainbow TV. “That they can really grow on. It never had a lot of female actresses. We only saw only one female actress. That we also definitely grow on.”

Meanwhile, several regional TV networks have expressed interest in buying rights to the film. It is entirely in the local language, Chichewa. Producers are busy adding English subtitles.

The four young men are preparing to stage live action performances of The Town Monger, and they hope to one day perform abroad.

Турчинов закликав до рішучої відповіді на «виклик країні» – вбивство Окуєвої

Секретар Ради національної безпеки і оборони України Олександр Турчинов закликав до рішучої відповіді на вбивство Аміни Окуєвої, прес-офіцера добровольчого батальйону імені Джохара Дудаєва.

«Росія, продовжуючи агресію на сході України, розгорнула терор у глибокому тилу, знищуючи мужніх захисників нашої країни. Вбивство Аміни Окуєвої – це виклик країні, на який повинна бути рішуча і адекватна відповідь», – написав він у фейсбуці.

«Сьогодні ми втратили Аміну Окуєву, яка стала справжнім героєм чеченського і українського народу. Для кожного патріота України вона стала рідною сестрою. І ворог повинен відповісти за вбивство нашої сестри», – додав він.

А муфтій Духовного управління мусульман України «Умма» Саїд Ісмагілов закликав надати Аміні Окуєвій посмертно звання Героя України.

За словами чільного діяча ісламської спільноти України, вона «повністю гідна бути героєм нашої країни» як «героїчна жінка-воїн».

Як написав Ісмагілов у фейсбуці, Окуєва «відповідала найвищим моральним якостям, що притаманні віруючим», і «захищала Україну і не боялася смерті» і загинула, з погляду ісламу, як «шагід-мученик». «Ми будемо за неї молитись, будемо любити її, пам’ятати її і ставити її як приклад героїчної української мусульманки», – написав чільний мусульманський діяч України.

Тим часом речник Національної поліції України Ярослав Тракало повідомив, що Аміна Окуєва і її чоловік, колишній командир добровольчого батальйону імені Джохара Дудаєва, доброволець Адам Осмаєв, раніше відмовилися від наданої їм державної охорони.

Як сказав речник інтернет-виданню «Українська правда», Осмаєв і Окуєва самі відмовилися від держохорони через кілька місяців після попереднього замаху на них по тому, як закінчився термін наданої їм охорони.

Про причини цієї відмови речник нічого не уточнив.

Аміна Окуєва загинула ввечері 30 жовтня від поранення кулею, що влучила їй у голову під час обстрілу їхнього авта, повідомив її чоловік Адам Осмаєв, який із пораненнями перебуває в лікарні.

За його словами, їхнє авто почали обстрілювати на залізничному переїзді, коли вони поверталися до Києва з іншого регіону. «Навколо мене все розліталося» внаслідок влучання куль у машину, розповів він.

За його словами, обстріл він вважає замахом на них обох і вбачає в ньому «російський слід».

Також, сказав Адам Осмаєв, «російський слід» він бачить і у вибуху, внаслідок якого днями потерпів народний депутат України Ігор Мосійчук (фракція Радикальної партії).

За повідомленнями, авто Осмаєва і Окуєвої обстріляли з автоматичної зброї біля селища Глеваха Київської області, Окуєва загинула, в Осмаєва важке поранення ноги, і поліція Київської області збирається відкрити кримінальне провадження за статтею 115 Кримінального кодексу України (умисне вбивство).

Поліція Київської області заявила, що встановлює нападників, які розстріляли автомобіль. «На території столичної області та сусідніх регіонів введений оперативний план «Сирена», тривають заходи щодо розшуку і затримання озброєних злочинців. Обставини події встановлюються… Прохання до водіїв з розумінням ставитися до перевірки транспортних засобів поліцейськими», – мовилося в повідомленні поліції Київщини у фейсбуці.

За цим повідомленням, 30 жовтня о 20-й годині на спецлінію 102 поліції Київщини надійшло повідомлення про те, що невідомі особи з кущів на автодорозі поблизу залізничної станції Глеваха Києво-Святошинського району розстріляли автомобіль.

Раніше про загибель Аміни Окуєвої повідомили в соцмережах народні депутати Антон Геращенко (фракція «Народний фронт»), який є також членом колегії Міністерства внутрішніх справ України, і Ігор Мосійчук (фракція Радикальної партії), який додав, що загибла була його помічницею і що вони домовлялися про зустріч найближчими днями. Мосійчук днями теж став жертвою, як вважають, замаху і перебуває з пораненнями в лікарні.

1 червня також був здійснений, як вважають, замах на Осмаєва. Тоді він теж був поранений і опинився в лікарні, Окуєва, яка тоді не потерпіла, у відповідь поранила нападника.

Тоді, за даними поліції, чоловік, який назвався іноземним журналістом, завчасно домовився з подружжям про зустріч у Києві. За версією силовиків, коли вони сіли в автомобіль, невідомий дістав із коробки пістолет «Глок» і вистрілив у груди Осмаєву, у відповідь Окуєва зі свого пістолета Макарова зробила кілька пострілів у стрільця. Є припущення, що нападник діяв на вказівку з Росії.

У поліції тоді заявили, що основною версією нападу на подружжя добровольців Осмаєва і Окуєвої розглядають їхню патріотичну позицію.

У Росії Адама Осмаєва звинувачували у причетності до підготовки замаху на російського президента Володимира Путіна.

У лютому 2015 року Адам Осмаєв став командиром добровольчого батальйону імені Джохара Дудаєва. Аміна Окуєва, медик за освітою, була прес-секретарем батальйону.

Leftist Candidates Dominate Local Elections in Macedonia

Candidates supported by Macedonia’s left-led government have dominated local elections, preliminary results from Sunday’s runoff show.

 

Results on the state electoral commission’s website Monday gave government-backed candidates victory in 57 of 81 municipalities, including the capital, Skopje.

Candidates backed by the main opposition VMRO-DPMNE conservatives won five posts.

 

The election took place amid bitter rivalry between Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s new Social Democrat-led government and VMRO-DPMNE, which had governed for a decade.

 

The first round was held Oct. 15. Past elections in Macedonia have been marred by claims of vote-rigging or voter intimidation.

 

But the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitored the elections, said the second round of voting showed “respect for fundamental freedoms.”

Romania: Lawmakers Approve Law That May Harm Press Freedom

Romanian senators on Monday approved a proposal that would allow Parliament to dismiss the chief of the Agerpres national news agency, despite opposition from press groups, which said it could harm the outlet’s political independence.

 

Senators voted 64-16 with 27 abstentions to approve the amendment, initiated by members of the ruling Social Democratic Party. Culture Minister Lucian Romascanu said the changes were necessary because Parliament currently lacked the authority to fire the agency’s general manager.

 

But press groups, including Reporters Without Borders, the European Center for Press and Media Freedom and the Romanian Center for Independent Journalism among others, published a letter earlier urging lawmakers not to change the law, saying: “Don’t destroy this institution. Don’t vote to change the law.” The proposal still needs to be approved by the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies before it can become law.

 

Agerpres general manager Alexandru Giboi criticized the vote, saying lawmakers wanted “merely to transform (the agency) into…. a button that any political party in power can press,” to control it.

 

Under existing legislation, Agerpres’ general manager has a five-year mandate and the agency, under parliamentary control, is required to be politically impartial.

 

The European Federation of Journalists has called the measure “an instrument to politicize the public service media.”

Finnish President Says Joining NATO Would Require Referendum

Any move by Finland to join NATO would need public approval via a referendum, President Sauli Niinisto told a panel debate on Monday ahead of elections in January.

The Nordic country is a member of the European Union but has stayed outside the NATO military alliance in line with its tradition of avoiding confrontation with Russia, with which it shares an 833-mile (1,340 km) border and a difficult history.

It has forged closer ties with NATO in recent years, however, sharing information and taking part in military exercises, reflecting concerns in Finland about the Ukraine crisis and increased East-West tensions in the Baltic Sea.

Niinisto, who is expected to easily win a second six-year term in the Jan. 28 election, did not indicate whether he favored joining NATO but said a decision to apply for full membership would require a referendum.

“I am convinced that (membership) decision would require legitimacy, a wide acceptability … I would warn against making decisions where a significant part of citizens would get deep wounds,” Niinisto said in a panel discussion in Helsinki.

Only 21 percent of Finns support joining NATO, while 51 percent are opposed, a poll by YLE showed in February.

Niinisto, 69, who will stand as an independent candidate after previously representing the conservative National Coalition Party, is known for cultivating good relations with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Finland’s president is in charge of foreign and defense policy together with the government.

Nils Torvalds, the only one of seven presidential candidates who advocates joining NATO, said politicians needed to show leadership on the issue.

“The thesis of a referendum blocks the discussion on membership. Everybody’s waiting for a referendum and are not taking a stance on the real question … We do have a parliament to decide on issues.”

“To apply for a membership when a crisis is knocking on the door, forget that. The membership must be applied for when the weather is still rather beautiful.”

Torvalds, a politician for Swedish People’s Party of Finland, had 1 percent support in a recent opinion poll while Niinisto had 76 percent.

Finland’s center-right government has said it will monitor the security situation in the region and retain the option of joining NATO.

Russia, which has opposed NATO’s eastward expansion has said any move by Helsinki to join would be of “special concern.”

 

В Окуєву і Осмаєва стріляли з автоматичної зброї – поліція і депутат

Автомобіль, у якому були прес-офіцер батальйону імені Джохара Дудаєва Аміна Окуєва і її чоловік, доброволець Адам Осмаєв, обстріляли з автоматичної зброї, повідомили речник Національної поліції України Ярослав Тракало і народний депутат Дмитро Лінько (фракція Радикальної партії).

Окуєва внаслідок обстрілу загинула, Осмаєв важко поранений, підтвердили вони.

Як сказав Тракало інтернет-виданню «Українська правда», Осмаєву нічого не загрожує, його відвезли до лікарні, де нині оперують, у нього важке поранення ноги.

Також речник додав, що поліція Київської області збирається відкрити кримінальне провадження за статтею 115 Кримінального кодексу України (умисне вбивство).

Лінько, зі свого боку, заявив у фейсбуці, що перебуває на місці нападу у Глевасі Київської області, і так само повідомив: Окуєв важко поранений у ногу, стріляли з автомата чергою.

Поліція Київської області заявила, що встановлює нападників, які розстріляли автомобіль. «На території столичної області та сусідніх регіонів введений оперативний план «Сирена», тривають заходи щодо розшуку і затримання озброєних злочинців. Обставини події встановлюються. Наразі на місці події також працює керівництво Національної поліції України та поліції Київської області. Прохання до водіїв з розумінням ставитися до перевірки транспортних засобів поліцейськими», – мовиться в повідомленні поліції Київщини у фейсбуці.

За цим повідомленням, 30 жовтня о 20-й годині на спецлінію 102 поліції Київщини надійшло повідомлення про те, що невідомі особи з кущів на автодорозі поблизу залізничної станції Глеваха Києво-Святошинського району розстріляли автомобіль. На місце події одразу прибули група реагування патрульної поліції та слідчо-оперативна група.

Раніше про загибель Аміни Окуєвої повідомили в соцмережах народні депутати Антон Геращенко (фракція «Народний фронт»), який є також членом колегії Міністерства внутрішніх справ України, і Ігор Мосійчук (фракція Радикальної партії), який додав, що загибла була його помічницею і що вони домовлялися про зустріч найближчими днями. Мосійчук днями теж став жертвою, як вважають, замаху і перебуває з пораненнями в лікарні.

1 червня був здійснений, як вважають, замах на Осмаєва. Тоді він теж був поранений і опинився в лікарні, Окуєва, яка тоді не потерпіла, у відповідь поранила нападника.

Тоді, за даними поліції, чоловік, який назвався іноземним журналістом, завчасно домовився із подружжям про зустріч у Києві. За версією силовиків, коли вони сіли в автомобіль, невідомий дістав із коробки пістолет «Глок» і вистрілив у груди Осмаєву, у відповідь Окуєва зі свого пістолета Макарова зробила кілька пострілів у стрільця.

У поліції тоді заявили, що основною версією нападу на подружжя добровольців Осмаєва і Окуєвої розглядають їхню патріотичну позицію.

У лютому 2015 року Адам Осмаєв став командиром добровольчого батальйону імені Джохара Дудаєва після загибелі Іси Мунаєва. Аміна Окуєва, медик за освітою, була прес-секретарем батальйону.

Source: Trump Likely to Pick Fed’s Powell to Lead Central Bank

President Donald Trump is likely to pick Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell as the next head of the U.S. central bank, a source familiar with the

matter said on Monday, prompting investors to push down yields on Treasury notes.

The Republican president, who is considering Powell, current Fed Chair Janet Yellen and three others for the top central bank job, will announce his decision on Thursday, a White House official said separately.

By picking Powell, a soft-spoken centrist and Fed governor since 2012, Trump would get the combination of a leadership change and the continuity offered by somebody who has been a part of the Yellen-run Fed that has kept the economy and markets steady in recent years.

Powell, 64, has supported Yellen’s general direction in setting monetary policy, and in recent years has shared her concerns that weak inflation justified a continued cautious approach to raising interest rates.

“Powell has not offended people, and that’s a huge advantage in Washington. He’s the kind of guy who can get through Senate confirmation, and this administration has so many other problems to deal with,” said John Silva, chief economist at Wells Fargo.

The main challenger to Powell is Stanford University economist John Taylor, a favorite of conservative Republicans who believe monetary policy has been too loose under Yellen and want the central bank to rely more on rules when setting rates. Taylor has spent the last two decades refining and pushing for wider use of a rule that sets out where rates should be, given certain conditions of inflation and the broader economy.

His rule implies they should be higher than they are now.

Critics say that a Taylor-run Fed would run the risk of tightening monetary policy too fast and choking off the recovery from the 2007-2009 financial crisis and recession.

The race for the Fed job has shifted between Yellen, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama to a one-year term in 2014, Powell and Taylor in recent weeks. Financial markets had pushed Treasury yields higher on talk Taylor would get the job.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were yielding 2.37 percent in mid-afternoon trading on Monday, down from 2.43 percent on Friday.

The Fed, which is holding a two-day policy meeting this week, has lifted rates twice this year and is expected to do so again in December.

Forbes: Michael Jackson Top-earning Dead Celebrity With $75 Million

Michael Jackson died eight years ago, but he’s still generating millions of dollars.

Jackson is atop the Forbes list of top-earning dead celebrities for the fifth straight year, with $75 million. Forbes says Jackson’s earnings are boosted by a new greatest hits album, a Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show and a stake in the EMI music publishing catalog.

Two other singers join Jackson in the top five. Elvis Presley comes in fourth with $35 million and Bob Marley ranks fifth with $23 million.

Golf legend Arnold Palmer is the second-highest earner. He brought in $40 million in part through sales of Arizona lemonade and ice tea beverage made in his name.

Palmer is followed by Charles Schulz. The creator of the “Peanuts” franchise made $38 million.

Blockchain Technology Could Unblock Southeast Asia

Imagine you could swipe your phone over a piece of fish in the supermarket and instantly see secure records of its entire path through the supply chain, from the technique used by the fisherman who caught it in Indonesia to when it was shipped and how it was processed at a factory in your home country —  all at the tap of a smartphone.

Trial projects such as that one are testing the potential of Blockchain technology to bring transparency to all sorts of notoriously inefficient or shadowy industries in Southeast Asia.

Blockchain, the technology that powers bitcoin, is an essentially unchangeable form of bookkeeping. It creates cryptographically chained signatures between blocks of information that are authenticated by users over a peer-to-peer distributed ledger — a public record that can be applied to any type of bookkeeping, not just cryptocurrencies.

“It removes the requirement for a centralized authority, and in a lot of the products that it’s being launched in, this centralized authority tends to be the government,” said Alisa DiCaprio, head of research at R3 — an enterprise banking software firm that uses distributed ledger technology.

In a region where the most important records — identity and ownership for instance — are often subjected to little or no external oversight, blockchain offers enormous potential benefits.

Erin Murphy, Founder and Principal of Inle Advisory Group, a Myanmar and emerging business advisory firm, said major Asian business hubs are looking to blockchain to clean up and simplify transactions.

“Ideally, we would want to see adoption of blockchain at an official level all across the region,” she said in an email. “But perhaps not surprisingly, the governments that are leading blockchain adoption are those that are already low-corruption.”

One of those governments, she said, is Singapore, which is working with major banks on a blockchain-based system to streamline and qualitatively improve their customer (KYC) processes.

In other countries, it is being used for completely different purposes. In the Philippines, a remittance market worth billions of dollars per month has been invaded by firms offering cheaper services built on blockchain, which people can access without a bank account..

“Any steps that get taken at first may not be viewed through an anti-corruption lens and may inadvertently tackle that issue; it will likely be viewed through a development lens to kickstart poverty alleviation and bringing sectors up to international standards that attract foreign investment,” Murphy said.

More than money

There are many trials with clear utility in Southeast Asia underway, including systems for land titling under development in Sweden and Japan.

In June, the United Nations unveiled a blockchain-based system built in partnership with Microsoft and Accenture that gives stateless refugees a permanent identity based on biometric data.

It’s also being explored for secure voting systems.

The blockchain-based app developed to track the supply chain of fish from Indonesia — Provenance — is now the basis of many other trials, including a project to create a similar system for the garment industry.

Online you can view the results of a pilot released in May this year that follows a piece of clothing — an Alpaca Mirror Jumper from London-based designer Martine Jarlgaard, from a farm in Dulverton, Britain, through every step of production into London with location, content and timestamps.

It is a long way, though, from realizing that something can be done to actually making it happen, DiCaprio of R3 said.

“The technical capability to do this exists in most developing countries,” she said. “You have engineers who can code on the blockchain. But the understanding of how to actually implement this from a business point of view is very poor.”

DiCaprio estimates it will take about five years before we actually see large-scale functioning applications and believes the most impactful will occur at the macro economic level.

“So for example one area that it’s moving very quickly is trade finance,” she said. “And trade finance, you’re generally talking about fairly large companies, generally in Asia mostly exporting or importing from or to the US or EU,.”

Faster, cheaper and more transparent transactions combined with reductions in the risks of lending and borrowing would flow to down to the village level, she added.

Subversion vs centralization

Blockchain proponents are divided by some sharply divergent values. Some see blockchain — whose slogan is “be your own bank,” as technology that can fundamentally upend a global financial system they believe is intractably corrupt.

“There is a serious opportunity for us here to remove money out of government,” said a Southeast Asia based bitcoin trader who would only give his alias FlippingABitCoin, fearing he could expose himself to physical theft.

Billions of people currently excluded from the formal banking system will be able to access global cryptocurrencies with no middle man using nothing more than a phone, he said.

“It will level out the playing field of power,” he said.

Another group of enthusiasts are encouraging the absorption of this technology by states, as demonstrated by Canada, Singapore, China and Germany, all of which are either exploring or conducting trials of their own central bank digital currencies using blockchain.

“In the long run, we believe if there is any threat at all to governments, it is that other governments will lead the way in adopting blockchain technologies in producing low-corruption, high-transparency, highly-secure digitized economic infrastructures that will attract business, investment and stakeholder confidence,” wrote Michael Hsieh, a non-resident affiliate at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, in an email.

“The societies who lead in the great fintech [financial technology] innovation race of the 21st century will siphon all the capital and productivity from those that lag,” he wrote.

Revolutionaries to Supernovas: ‘Glamour’ Names Women of 2017

It’s been one epic year for women, a notion definitely not lost on Glamour magazine as it named U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, 27 key facilitators of the Women’s March on Washington and astronaut Peggy Whitson among its women of the year from the worlds of politics, entertainment, fashion, business and more.

 

The other winners announced Monday, ahead of a Nov. 13 gala in Brooklyn, New York, are actor Nicole Kidman, singer Solange Knowles, Syrian refugee Muzoon Almellehan, late-night TV host Samantha Bee, supermodel Gigi Hadid, Dior’s first female creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, and “Wonder Woman” helmswoman Patty Jenkins.

 

Cindi Leive, Glamour’s editor-in-chief, called them “wildly diverse changemakers” who reflect this “tumultuous and electric year for women.” All will be on hand for the magazine’s annual awards night, with a summit featuring Chelsea Clinton, Laverne Cox, Cecile Richards and other past winners planned for earlier the same day.

 

This year’s honorees will be featured on multiple Glamour covers and in a spread for December.

 

A look at some in the Class of 2017:

 

THE REVOLUTIONARIES

 

Listening especially to the strong voices of young women after Hillary Clinton’s popular vote win but Electoral College loss to Donald Trump, Glamour called the impact of the Women’s March massive, along with an outpouring around the globe.

 

“Vastly more women turned out for the march, not just in Washington but the marches around the world, than anyone expected,” Leive told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “There were so many hundreds of women who were involved in the organization and planning of these marches, but 27 key leaders and organizers really devoted the lion’s share of their time between Election Day and Inauguration Day.”

 

In all, an estimated half a million made their way to Washington, where maybe 200,000 had been expected, and 5 million more gathered everywhere from Australia to Antarctica.

 

The honorees are:

 

Bob Bland, Tamika D. Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Paola Mendoza, Carmen Perez, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Janaye Ingram, Ginny Suss, Emma Collum, Cassady Fendlay, Lisa Harps, Mia Ives-Rublee, Rabbi Barat Ellman, Toshi Reagon, Sophie Ellman-Golan, ShiShi Rose, Caitlin Ryan, Jenna Arnold, Nantasha Williams, Alyssa Klein, Mariam Ehrari, Meredith Shepherd, Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs, Breanne Butler, Mrinalini Chakraborty, Brea Baker and De’Ara Balenger.

 

___

 

THE CONGRESSWOMAN WHO COULD

 

At 79, Maxine Waters describes herself in Glamour as a mix of “intellect and alley cat.” She has been on the front line of progressive politics for years, but that moment over the summer when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin appeared to be trying to run out her allotted five minutes rather than answer her questions about Trump’s financial ties to Russia, the congresswoman shut him down when she declared repeatedly that she was “reclaiming my time.” Her words became a hashtag and a call to action for women.

 

Waters earned Glamour’s lifetime achievement award.

 

“Most young people really became aware of her over the course of this year because she’s been very vocal, very outspoken, standing up to members of the administration, but she’s actually had an incredibly inspiring lifetime of achievement,” Leive said. “This is a woman who grew up without all that much and decided that she would go back to college in her 20s, after having worked at the phone company, and then worked as a community coordinator for Head Start. She wasn’t born into politics or anything like that. She really made her own career.”

 

___

 

GIGI THE SUPERNOVA

 

The first time Gigi Hadid bubbled to the surface was on the reality show “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Modeling since she was around 3, she went from a Guess campaign at 17 to supermodel five years later, racking up numerous magazine covers, editorial gigs and runway shows, along with a fashion collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger and an upcoming cosmetics collection with Maybelline.

 

As Glamour writes, Hadid didn’t just take off, “she took over.”

 

At 22, Hadid has a 36-million strong following on Instagram and a megaplatform that could easily have been wasted. Instead, she has spoken out about gun control and marched with sister Bella to protest Trump’s signing of an executive order that suspended immigration to the U.S. from seven Muslim countries.

 

Their father, real estate developer Mohamed Hadid, was born in Palestine and their mother, Yolanda Hadid, emigrated from Holland in her teens.

 

“When I started working in fashion, it was like, Gigi, the all-American. I was very much that ‘girl next door,'” she told Glamour, “but if you read my interviews, I always talk about my parents’ cultural backgrounds.”

 

Leive called her “incredibly wise beyond her years.”

 

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SOLANGE BREAKS IT OPEN

 

With a Grammy win and a groundbreaking album, “A Seat at the Table,” Knowles is living her truth in abundance. The record, released late last year, takes on some key issues: racism, cultural appropriation, activism and empowerment among them.

 

“She’s such a fantastic and inspiring example of somebody who has always chosen not to do things the easy way,” Leive said. “Her sister is Beyonce. She could have become a pop star in any number of ways but she decided to really focus on her own personal vision of art.”

 

Knowles told the magazine that she worked on “A Seat at the Table” on and off for three years, at one point spending three months writing songs in tiny Patoutville, Louisiana, soaking up the pride, resilience and traditions of the regional culture. She worked in a house on a sugar plantation, feeling a closeness to her ancestors and feeling a “constant state of reflection.”

 

Part of her goal was to reclaim and change her own narrative, she said, “whether it was people challenging who wrote what on my album, whether it was about some editor commenting on my hair in a story or someone feeling like they were entitled to space in my life. I needed to unfold, reveal and discover my truth.”

 

 

 

India’s New Afghan Trade Route Via Iran, Bypasses Pakistan

Opening a new trade route to Afghanistan that bypasses Pakistan, India has dispatched its first consignment of wheat to the war torn country via the Iranian port of Chabahar.

The strategic sea route is a significant step in bolstering trade with Kabul that has been hampered because rival Pakistan does not allow India to transport goods to Afghanistan through its territory.

After the shipment was seen off by Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani via a joint video conference Sunday, the Indian government called it a “landmark moment.”

In the coming months, six more consignments of wheat totaling 1.1. million tons will be sent from India’s western port of Kandla to Chabahar. From the Iranian port it will be taken by road to Kabul.

The shipment comes days after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on a visit to New Delhi, allayed concerns that the Trump administration’s tough stand on Iran could pose a fresh stumbling block to India’s plans to develop the strategic Iranian port as a regional transit hub.

Easier connectivity to Afghanistan is key for India to step up its economic engagement with Kabul, which Washington has called for as part of its new policy to stabilize the war torn country.

And Chabahar port, in which India is investing $500 million to build new terminals, cargo berths and connecting road and rail lines, is the centerpiece of the strategy to improve linkages not just with Afghanistan, but also to resource-rich Central Asian republics.

“This is the first time that we are getting into Afghanistan through a route different than what traditional routes have been,” said South Asia expert Sukh Deo Muni at New Delhi’s Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses.

Indian leaders expressed optimism about the project, which is still a work in progress. Minister Swaraj called it the starting point of a journey that would spur the unhindered flow of commerce and trade throughout the region. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted the launch of the trade route, “marks a new chapter in regional cooperation & connectivity.”

The sea route via the Iranian port is the second step taken by India to increase connectivity with Kabul. In June it opened an air freight corridor to provide greater access for Afghan goods to the Indian market.

The Chabahar port is seen as India’s answer to the Gwadar port in Pakistan being developed by China.

The project was conceived almost 15 years ago, but the plans were stalled for years due to U.S. led international sanctions on Iran. Their easing prompted India to sign a trilateral pact with Iran and Afghanistan last year to develop the port.

U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson indicated in New Delhi last week that fresh sanctions on Iran by the Trump administration would not pose a stumbling block to those plans.

“It is not our objective to harm the Iranian people, nor is it our objective to interfere with legitimate business activities that are going on with other businesses, whether they be from Europe, India or agreements that are in place that promote economic development and activity to the benefit of our friends and allies as well. We think there is no contradiction within that policy,” he told reporters in India.

Those words have been welcomed in New Delhi said analyst Muni. “I think there is a far more reassuring feeling in India vis-a-vis the Trump administration than what the initial thought was,” he said.

The shortest and most cost effective land routes between India and Afghanistan lie through Pakistan. However, due to longstanding rivalries between the two countries, India is not allowed to send any exports through Pakistani territory and Afghanistan is only allowed to send a limited amount of perishable goods through Pakistani territory to India.

 

Spacey Apologizes After Actor Accuses Him of Past Harassment

Actor Kevin Spacey said Sunday he is “beyond horrified” by allegations that he made sexual advances on a teen boy decades ago.

The two-time Oscar winner posted on Twitter that he doesn’t remember the encounter.

“But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years,” he said.

In an interview with BuzzFeed, actor Anthony Rapp said Spacey befriended him while they both performed on Broadway shows. Rapp was 14 when he attended a party at Spacey’s apartment in 1986, he said. At the end of the night, an inebriated Spacey picked him up, placed him on his bed, and climbed on top of him, Rapp said.

Rapp said the 26-year-old was holding him down tightly, but he was able to get away and left the apartment.

Rapp, who is now 46 and starring in the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery”, said he came forward after allegations against Harvey Weinstein sparked conversations about sexual abuse and harassment in the entertainment industry.

Spacey, who is now 58, spoke publicly about his sexual orientation for the first time Sunday on Twitter.

“As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women,” he said. “I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man.”

Spacey, who has fiercely protected his private life, had never disclosed his sexuality before but said Rapp’s story encouraged him to speak.

“I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior,” he said.

У Норвегії виявили місце, де можуть бути уламки зниклого російського вертольота

Норвезькі рятувальники знайшли на дні океану уламки раніше зниклого поблизу острова Свальбард (раніше Шпіцберген – ред.) російського вертольота, йдеться на Twitter-сторінці пошуково-рятувальної служби Норвегії.

Згідно з повідомленням, уламки вертольота, ймовірно, лежать на глибині 209 метрів за 2,2 кілометри на північний захід від мису Хеер (архіпелаг Шпіцберген).

Російські ЗМІ у неділю ввечері повідомили, що прем’єр-міністр Норвегії Ерна Солберг у співчутті російському прем’єру Дмитру Медведєву заявила, що надії знайти живих не залишилося, триває пошук тіл загиблих.

26 жовтня вертоліт Мі-8, який належав російській державній компанії «Арктикуголь», зник в арктичному архіпелазі Свальбард. Цей архіпелаг має особливий статус – тут встановлено суверенітет Норвегії, але інші країни можуть вести на островах господарську діяльність. Зв’язок із пілотами Мі-8 зник дорогою від законсервованого селища Піраміда до Баренцбурґа, де Росія видобуває вугілля. Транспортне сполучення з селищем можливе тільки морем і повітрям. На борту зниклого вертольота були троє співробітників науково-дослідного інституту Арктики і Антарктики, а також п’ятеро членів екіпажу.

У Росії відкрили кримінальну справу за статтею про порушення правил безпеки руху повітряного судна, що призвело до жертв.